Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Gay Centrist Manifesto

Change not one word, jot, iota, or sentiment.

Gentlemen, Start Your Keyboards

As a convert by marriage to Apple (Jew versus Christian was acceptable, OS X versus XP was not), I can honestly say that the launch of the new Microsoft Windows Vista operating system means nothing to me personally.

Unfortunately, it seems to mean nothing to most people professionally as well -- a fact which may not bode well for Microsoft's rapid recoup of the beaucoup amount of money spent on building the thing.

But to those out there who indulge in the pleasures of using nasty code to blow up other peoples' computers, this has to be the equivalent of seeing your upstairs neighbor with the loud stereo open their window -- while you're holding a water balloon.

How DARE You Follow Sound Business Practice!

And also in today's news, Mayor Gavin Newsom is screaming that the San Francisco 49ers's previous contacts with officials in the South Bay regarding a possible move to Santa Clara shows that the team was "not being honest with San Francisco".

Of course, the article goes on to point out that the 49ers not only made it clear to Santa Clara that San Francisco was their first choice, but that they even warned Newsom and his entourage that their staying put was not a guarantee. Furthermore, to anyone even remotely familiar with the City's politics, the team's having a backup plan was a sound decision; after all, the only certainty in dealing with the San Francisco Politburo is that there are no certainties.

But Newsom, still smarting from the collapse of his monument to himself and the private party to milk for the costs of it, isn't having anything of it -- and, in an ironic twist, is drawing up his smoke-saturated cloak about him and huffing about how "dishonest" people are as he storms out of the backroom, a mysteriously-rustling sack jammed under his arm.

Today's Insane Thought

There's a moral in this somewhere, I swear.

But personally, kudos to Coach Nibarger; she may be rough around the edges, but she's put up with about twenty times more than what I would tolerate.

What really scares the bejesus out of me is that this whole parental fracas is being spearheaded by the wife of the county Superior Court judge -- and they're now threatening a lawsuit for violation of civil rights.

As C.W. Nevius so wisely puts it in the linked article, "You think you have a civil right to be on the basketball team?"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Today's Homework

Read this first.

Then follow with this.

Cogitate accordingly.

(Hat tip, GayPatriot)

Happy Thought For Today

One pinch of fairy dust, and this could boost my plus-size tushy right over Mount Shasta.

The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund will donate $1 million to 14 Bay Area AIDS organizations that have been pinched by tighter federal budgets and may face severe cuts in the coming years......

On Friday, which is designated World AIDS Day by the United Nations, the Goldman Fund will formally announce the 14 grants. They range from $250,000 for Project Open Hand -- which provides groceries and cooked meals to homebound patients with AIDS and other diseases -- to $25,000 for the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park.

Absolutely amazing. Astonishing. And most incredible....completely unsolicited.

None of the recipients had applied for the grants.

"It came out of the blue. We were literally jumping up and down,'' said Bob Brenneman, director of development for Project Open Hand.

Brenneman said cuts in federal funding have made for difficult times at many organizations serving people with AIDS in San Francisco. "One of the reasons the Goldman Fund gave these grants was to encourage other private funders to do the same," he said.

Mr. Goldman, I can't say this enough......thank you.

And I certainly hope my readers will take up your challenge.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Who Wants to Bet.......

if you'll see this discussed on many gay-oriented blogs?

As far as the actual behavior, it should be no surprise to anyone; after all, sexual favoritism in the workplace has been around since the first protozoans posited prodigious pseudopod preferences. It would be more surprising if we of the lavender persuasion were immune to such temptations and never changed promotion requirements to "demonstrated understanding of departmental procedures manual and/or The Kama Sutra".

But where this creates a problem is in the self-righteous rhetoric of the gay left, that, like the radical feminism and racism from which it is descended, sanctimoniously blames "white males" for everything from workplace discrimination to hurricanes and bad hair days. Finding out that a lesbian engaged in back-office maneuvering equivalent to the sleaziest of old-boy networks neatly blows a Michael Richards-sized crater into that argument.

One wonders if those among the gays who are usually so quick to scream "hypocrite" and point fingers at people like Ted Haggard will be as vociferous in opposing Bleskachek's actions.

Personally, though, I'd have the incense ready; given the toe-sucking reception for the last person who made personnel decisions based on who he wanted to sleep with him, I think Pope Solmonese will soon be declaring the ceremony of canonization for St. Bonnie the Oppressed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Desperation Is the Mother of Stupid Arguments

Just in case you were worried that people were running out of ludicrous justifications for gay marriage, here's the latest one, courtesy of Lambda Legal: so that ill-gotten assets of gay couples can be confiscated.

Alphonso David, a staff attorney for the gay legal advocacy group Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, said that if Kopper and Dodson were married, the Enron funds that now belong to Dodson would be considered jointly owned by the two men under the marriage laws of most states.

“It’s ironic that some of the same people who are opposed to legal recognition of marriage between same-sex couples are upset that this couple gets to keep about $9 million in stolen funds,” David said. “This highlights the point that people don’t always think about the obligations as well as the rights that go with marriage.”

David said that if Kopper and Dodson were married, the Enron funds that now belong to Dodson would be considered jointly owned by the two men under the marriage laws of most states.

What this makes obvious is that Lambda lawyers are chosen more for their devotion to leftist causes than they are for their legal knowledge or assessment capabilities.

It is technically correct that, had the two men been married, the government would have a viable claim to some of their assets that were held jointly. However, it is also true that the government would not necessarily have had claim to those that were in Dodson's name only -- and worse, both Kopper and Dodson could have invoked spousal privilege to avoid testifying against (and thus implicating) each other.

However, as any good investigator can tell you, it is not uncommon for criminals to attempt to hide ill-gotten gains by putting them in the name of a girlfriend, lover, or other unrelated third party. This can be quite often difficult to discover, but when it is, the response is swift and painful -- both by the IRS and by any creditors, including those filing lawsuits, both of whom can call on various legal strictures to freeze and capture assets, especially in regards to criminal activity.

Thus, the logic: if it had chosen to prosecute Dodson on criminal charges, the Federal government would have run up against a considerable wall, since it would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dodson's likely claim of being an innocent bystander was incorrect, and that he was in fact well-aware of both the maneuvers of Enron that were enriching him and was actively participating in them -- very difficult to prove of a non-employee.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, filing charges against Dodson would have effectively blocked (thanks to double jeopardy) any possibility of the IRS filing tax evasion charges. Given that the Feds have, in addition to Dodson's own 1040s, Kopper's sworn testimony in court as to where the money came from, where it went, and who got it, the word "slam dunk" is not adequate to describe how easily that can be accomplished.

To wrap things up, consider the gazillion civil lawsuits that have likely already been filed -- and which, like the OJ case, will demonstrate that, while there may not be enough evidence to send you to prison, there is more than enough to drain you dry financially.

Thus, despite them not being married, Dodson and Kopper aren't retiring to the Caymans any time soon on that $9 mil -- and the chance is good that, not only will Dodson eventually end up in prison, but that a significant portion of the cash they stole will be returned to the people who lost it.

In short, we don't need gay marriage to punish gay criminals. But we do need organizations like Lambda who deliberately or ignorantly spread misinformation of this sort to shut the h*ll up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Licence to (shovel) Swill

Many of the Net's more prominent authors and publishers are cheering Monday's decision by the California Supreme Court saying that Federal protections on free speech shield Internet providers from liability for libelous messages posted on their sites.

I'm not so sure it's a good idea -- mainly because of the particulars of the case.

The Alameda County plaintiffs, physicians Stephen Barrett and Terry Polevoy, claimed they were libeled by hundreds of messages that Ilena Rosenthal, an alternative health care advocate, got from other sources and posted in online news groups from 1999 to 2001.

The general thrust of the plaintiffs' argument was that similar standards as used for print and conventional electronic media should be applied to the Internets; that is, these entities can be sued for publishing libelous statements. The court correctly, in my opinion, recognized the obvious difference between these media forms -- the relative amount of control that exists over author and content prior to publication.

However, they made one more judgment whose implications are much more problematic (emphasis mine).

One message accused Polevoy of stalking a radio producer. The physician said he had told Rosenthal the accusation was false before she posted it. But the court said she was immune from being sued because she had merely passed along messages she hadn't written, just as an Internet provider displays messages from others.

My issue: their doing so extended the protections of conventional media to those who are not bound or compelled to follow the practices of conventional media.

The problem is that, in 1996, when the law was written, mass publication and content generation were much more intimately connected. Back then, getting anything published beyond telephone-pole flyers or Podunk Register levels meant going through one of the media companies that could afford a global communications infrastructure. What it also did was ensure that, through a battery of reporters, editors, content committees, and lawyers, nothing that couldn't be fact-checked six ways from Sunday or was too hateful made it through -- partially out of ethical concerns, but primarily because anything that turned people off to watching or advertising with them turned millions of dollars in printing presses and transmitters from revenue-generating into revenue-sucking. In addition, the sheer cost of producing the media made it certain that only the most newsworthy (read, "what will sell ads or garner viewers") stories ever reached precious newsprint or radio waves.

Now, however, there's no such linkage. I can literally write whatever I want, check it as I see fit, and push a button -- and in seconds, it is accessible to literally ANYONE with a Web connection from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe at little or no cost to either of us. And, thanks to the California Supreme Court, I'm immune from lawsuits, even if I publish something that I KNOW is defamatory -- a privilege that not even the most venerable of old-media enjoys.

Fellow California blogger Boi From Troy makes, with some validity, the point that the speed at which Internets content can be updated should play into this -- presumably under the argument that, as in Rathergate, information that is false can be (and quite often is) immediately detected and countered publicly -- thus, theoretically, lessening its impact.

However, I would argue, in regards to individual bloggers, "So what?"

Somehow, the threat of being delinked or denounced just doesn't quite have the same force as being censured for violation of professional ethics, fired from my job, completely destroying the credibility of a news outlet, and costing a company millions of dollars in legal fees, lost advertising revenue, and bad publicity -- such as would happen (and has happened) to a journalist or media group who knowingly or even inadvertently published false information or failed to verify its sources. Plus, as people like Mike Rogers at Blogactive has shown, no matter how dubious your information or your past record with handling it, if you play a tune to which they wish to dance, people will continue to shovel you cash and advertisements.

In my opinion, this could be handled very simply by an adoption of a Federal law with three rules:

1. Providers (Internet, print, or otherwise) are not liable for what is posted by individuals who are not their employees, contractors, or vendors.

2. All libel and slander cases filed will proceed to trial and be ineligible for summary dismissal unless all sources cited by the defense as justification for making the statement in question are made public information.

3. The standard for libel and slander will include not only malicious intent to harm, but failure to verify information, either willfully or through negligence.

In short, you are perfectly able to make whatever anonymous accusations you like; however, if a libel suit is filed, you are going to trial unless you make your sources public -- and you will ultimately have to convince a jury as to why you didn't do your fact-checking or ignored the facts that came up.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Picture is Worth a Thousand...Um.....

With a hat tip to one of the Talented, Sexy, and Beautiful Straight Women Who Blog, Army of Mom, we bring you the latest in our Inanimate Object series.

Look at it.....I mean, just LOOK at it.

I am so sending this to V the K.

UPDATE: Pam (thanks for the hat tip) has made matters even more interesting by providing us with an actual promo for the thing:
Talk to her!
Laugh and play together!
Share your secrets with her!
Give her love!
Discover her songs and dances!

She also plays and interacts with the Boots too!
Have an adventure with Dora the Explorer, your interactive friend!

Wow......just, wow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Deprivation Can Do Strange Things

November in San Francisco is not exactly a month that lends itself to torrid sexual expression, so imagine my surprise to see this potboiler prose in today's Chronicle.

It's amazing how shabby your living room suddenly looks after you take the latest PlayStation console out of the box. The PlayStation 3 is all sleek lines and chrome accents, like a Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Porsche 911 had a wild weekend of sex -- ending up with an 11-pound, 20-gigabyte love child.

Um....all right. Things like that happen when you spend 48 hours in line to get something and a week playing it. Understandable.

But things get better (or worse) on the next page:

I have right here in my hot little hands that actually aren't all that little and are only slightly warm at the moment a brand new lick-ready smooth-as-love Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Super Orgasm Deluxe Ultrahard Modern Computing Device Designed by God Herself Somewhere in the Deep Moist Vulva of Cupertino Yes Yes Don't Stop Oh My God Yes.

HOO-kay.....back away slowly....don't make eye contact.....and for God's sake don't drop the soap....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Stupid Criminal Trick #576,948,098,003

Evidently running out of material about Britney and Fed-Ex, CNN and the New York Times chose today to air former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's remarks from last week about a failed plot to kill all nine of the Supreme Court justices.
"Every member of the Supreme Court received a wonderful package of home-baked cookies, and I don't know why, (but) the staff decided to analyze them," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted O'Connor as saying at the legal conference November 10 in the Dallas area. "Each one contained enough poison to kill the entire membership of the court."

Of course, the reason why is revealed in the Department of Justice's laconic summary:
Each envelope contained a one-page typewritten letter stating, either "I am" or "We are," followed by "going to kill you. This is poisoned."

This reminds me of a classic Calvin and Hobbes story, in which Calvin, on a whim, kidnaps neighborhood girl Susie Derkins's Binky Betsy doll and holds it for ransom, sending the following sinister note cleverly written in letters cut and pasted from magazines to disguise his handwriting and identity:


If you want to see your doll again, leave $100 in the envelope by the tree out front. Do not call the police. You cannot trace us. You cannot find us.



Thursday, November 16, 2006

Congrats on Ditching Your Loser Landlords

"Let's put this is perspective: this is sports guys, this is not life.....It's a sport, it's a game, it's entertainment. I think we take it a little too literally. It doesn't define who we are, it's what we enjoy. At the end of the day, life is so much bigger than a game."

At least, that's what San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom used to say -- right up to last Wednesday night's announcement by the San Francisco 49ers that the team is planning to ditch its rickety and cold stadium on blighted, inaccessible, infrastructure-less Candlestick Point for a brand-new one in the middle of warm, booming, transit-proximate, developed Santa Clara.

THEN the tune changed.

Now, we have the following gale blowing up in the City by the Bay. Hold on to your toothbrushes.

-- City Attorney Herrera, at Newsom's prodding, is threatening to file a lawsuit preventing the team from using "San Francisco" or "49ers" in their name -- an action which, according to most experts, has a probability level somewhere between "nonexistent" and "impossible".

-- Newsom himself is threatening to refuse to change bus routes and -- get this -- to withhold essential services like game-day police protection -- apparently believing that voters will blame the 49ers for the resulting smashed car windows, muggings, beatings, and shootings when he orders San Francisco's finest to stay away from a stadium and parking lot full of cars located in the highest-crime area in the City.

-- State Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Senator Carol Migden, D-San Francisco, are authoring state legislation to ban the team from using either "San Francisco" or "49ers" in their name if they move, plus other laws to prevent municipalities or jurisdictions from raising taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements to attract teams from another locale.

-- Not to be outdone, Representative and Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D - San Francisco, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, D - CA, threatened to introduce, Federal legislation to do the same, with DiFi going so far as to put pressure on the NFL through Senate hearings to bring the 49ers to heel.

Why all the hubbub, you ask?

Because the 49ers's move essentially torpedoed local leaders' potential monument to themselves -- San Francisco's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

"Wait," you say......"Couldn't the City just build a stadium itself for the Olympics and redevelop the Bayview-Hunter's Point area with affordable housing? Why do they need the 49ers?"

Because, dear reader, that goes completely against the fundamental principle of San Francisco liberalism; never do yourself what you can use the power of government to force successful private industry to do for you.

Just as in this past year's debate, in which the City, instead of digging into its own pockets and tax revenues to fund health insurance for all its residents, enacted an ordinance of questionable legality to make businesses do it, the point here was to force a private entity with money -- the 49ers -- to redevelop a place they don't own for purposes that have nothing to do with them in a way inconsistent with what they need and on a timetable which leaves them essentially hanging for the next eight or so years.

Can you blame the 49ers for saying, "See ya"?

Honestly, if the San Francisco Politburo could have gotten this worked up over fixing the, oh, decades of complaints that stadium had already garnered, keeping the 49ers wouldn't be a problem. Heck, if they'd managed even half this level of energy, they could have gotten a venue built and the "affordable housing" into which they were going to turn the proposed Olympic Village (on a toxic waste site, no less) regardless of whether the 49ers were there or not.

But that would have required them to spend their own money, thus leaving less for lucrative contracts for their cronies, grants for their corrupt neighborhood associations, and concessions to the unions whose perks-for-votes trading have already put the City about $3 billion in the hole; therefore, we have the current fireworks and screeching show.

So, to the 49ers, I say.....more power to you, and best of luck in Santa Clara.

To everyone else, I just turn the iPod up a little louder.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No, Mr. Bond; I Expect You to Strip!

Despite my usual disdain for modern cinema, lately I've been finding myself more drawn to the new James Bond movie Casino Royale.

It could be due to a curiosity over how this particular film will interpret the "prequel" formula, in which you take a movie franchise that has become ridiculously over-the-top (a la Batman and Superman), strip out the gazillions worth of CGI and talent contracts, keep at least one older and recognized actor (preferably British and raised to the peerage) for stability, and add in an array of young art-film talent to build a story centered on how the protagonists became so screwed up in the first place.

Or it could be that I'm dying to see Daniel Craig take his clothes off.

Update: You knew Chad would find a way to top me. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Whither Adulthood

Paul Varnell, writing on the Independent Gay Forum, asks an interesting question: where are the gay adults?

His theory:
There are actually gay adults around in considerable numbers. They run gay businesses, the gay cultural institutions, the gay bars and clubs, the community health and social service organizations. But perhaps they are inconspicuous to young people focused on the bar, party and hook-up scene.

Still, there are millions of gay adult besides those. And indeed, where are they? Perhaps they withdraw from the gay community because they view being gay as largely about drinking, drugs, and fast-food sex. That is a sad misunderstanding. More than anything, gay is about Civic Life. The gay community is an affinity group. It is about interpersonal empathy, friendships, social and political progress and cultural creativity.

Well, if my partner and I are any example, there's a more prosaic reason; we're busy with other things instead. Between work, our respective professional groups, various organizations to which we belong, and attending other events, there are only so many hours left in the day. All the fundraising commitments I've made for this year have been out of personal time, and we've been strained and harried more often than not trying to balance the needs of work and our relationship with community events.

What that points out, though, is the root of the issue; namely, that gays are no longer limited to the gay-only world. As has happened with other groups which were kept together by popular disdain, the increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians outside the traditional borders has, while providing many more opportunities, significantly changed the character of the community left behind. An apt analogy is the "middle class creep" that is quite often identified as a major cause of the problems in the black community; namely, when those who can take advantage of new opportunities elsewhere do so en masse, what remains is like brine -- highly concentrated, less diverse, and progressively more unpalatable.

To an enormous degree, I think it is important that gays continue to push the envelope in terms of public involvement and life outside the gay community. We SHOULD strive to be more involved in our work, our cities, our neighborhoods, our schools, and in other places where our presence among straight people does much to dispel the popular stereotypes of gays as sex-crazed, drug-shooting, leather-wearing circuit boys and undercuts the argument of social extremists who keep trying to portray our lives as threats to Mom, America, and apple pie.

At the same time, however, it is imperative that we bring back this widened perspective to our brethren and proactively work to keep our historic and social communities from collapsing into suspicious, paranoid enclaves. Like the black and ethnic ghettoes, we cannot afford to have the gay community develop mores, culture, and attitudes that actively resist what they see as "outside influence", reject change, and perpetuate destructive behaviors, all out of ignorance or fear. The last thing the universe needs is the homosexual analogue to hip-hop music.

No one in our community should feel constrained by their sexual orientation; you should feel free to live, do, vote, and be what you like, regardless of it. However, we should always keep in mind that those of us who can and do operate outside of the day-to-day gay must share that perspective with those who can't.

The Whited Sepulchre

I find it more than interesting that one of the principals in the Foley matter -- and the newspaper with whom he was working -- have now come out with a pair of stories that.....ahem....take liberties with some key elements of the timeline involved in their actions.

Here's how the Los Angeles Times, who was a media source with which the StopSexPredators blogger, Lane Hudson, was working, characterizes the release of information concerning the Foley emails:

Just after 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, Hudson put up the Foley e-mails.

"This is absolutely amazing … ," he wrote that morning. "There must be even more out there. E-mail me … and let me know what we should do!!!!"

By that Wednesday, Wonkette, a popular Washington gossip site, had linked to Hudson's blog. On Thursday, ABC News posted an article on its website.

However, as the Radar Online blog has previously pointed out, a link to the StopSexPredators blog was already posted on DailyKos -- twelve minutes after Hudson put up the emails.

Furthermore, as Radar Online also points out, the same online ID who posted the Foley link opened a diary with it on DailyKos six minutes later....but not only that, had written a suggestive post concerning Foley over two weeks earlier.

One wonders why they are so quick to ignore -- or whitewash, depending on how you look at it -- how quickly and repeatedly this information was posted, in what looks like a deliberate fashion, on a blog on which it would generate an inordinate amount of attention -- and which has a history of being a publicity mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.

Furthermore, what I find interesting is that both Hudson and his media sources are ignoring the fact of the other posts he made accusing Congresspersons and making other unreferenced statements, all of which makes him look much less like a concerned citizen and much more like a partisan demagogue. One wonders if their concern is really for the facts....or for spinning their involvement with actions which appear to be less concerned with sex predators and more with flinging mud.

The fact that an HRC staffer was doing this, again, is no great surprise. And, as the Blade article implies, I'm quite sure that the only reason Hudson is no longer employed by HRC had more to do with the negative publicity of keeping him than it did on their actually disagreeing with what he did or the practice of outing for political advantage.

HRC needs to once and for all come clean about this entire issue. Either they support outing, or they don't. If they do, they should publicly admit it, instead of saying one thing to the media and encouraging it behind closed doors. If they don't, let's see some action on their part to stop it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Research? Who Needs Research?

If you write for a newspaper, it only stands to reason that you would read it, right?

Not necessarily, as Kevin Neff, editor of the Washington Blade, shows us in his gush over the spectacularly-partisan Bill Maher jumping on the outing wagon:
No word on which officials Maher has in mind, but Maher said the stories about the closeted Republicans had already appeared in print. I hope he gives the Blade some credit if he’s been reading our coverage (past and present) of “openly closeted” officials like Mark Foley, Kirk Fordham, Mehlman, Charlie Crist, David Dreier and others.

The term “openly closeted” refers to those who refuse to answer “the question,” as Mehlman has in the past. How many straight people refuse to cop to their sexual orientation?

Interestingly enough, though, Mehlman has -- and in a place where you would expect Neff would see it.

A mere oversight on Neff's part -- or, more likely, an example of not seeing what you don't want to see?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Republicans Lost......

and amazingly enough, the sun is still shining.

Am I pleased with the results of Tuesday's election here in the US? No.

But am I ready to move on and forward? Yes.

In the final wrapup, it really boils down to this; voters wanted change, and enough Democrats were able to convince them that they represented one. Not too big of a one, but a change nonetheless.

My questions for the crystal ball:

Will Democrats be able to actually carry out the bipartisanship they're claiming -- or will the moonbats once again grab hold of the steering wheel?

Will Republicans realize that this election was not a repudiation of conservativism, but of what happens when conservatives swallow too much Washington water -- or make the mistake of the Dems in 2002 by moving even farther to the extreme?

I guess we'll find out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Haggard Redux

I think I know now how most public defenders feel. (grin)

To whit, Ted Haggard seems to have cut the knees out from under my argument by supposedly confessing to "sexual immorality" -- which most everyone is interpreting as "sex with men".

Thus, do I think he's guilty? Yup.

Do I think, as I posited before, that the Democrats and the gay left are behind it? Yup.

Do I still think what happened was wrong? Emphatically yes.


Well, one of the things that's been most entertaining to watch is the feigned "compassion" for Haggard's family and Haggard himself coming from the people who were the first to throw every juicy bit of gossip onto the airwaves and blogwaves -- and justified what looks like an action of vengeance and hate worthy of Haggard himself by saying that he "attacked our families".

To me, that's sort of like a paparazzi photographer coming up to Princes William and Harry, saying "Sorry 'bout your mum"; it also confirms my suspicion that removing Huckleberry Finn from school reading lists was a bad idea.

The thing to keep in mind through all of this is that hypocrisy and misbehavior can be confronted without ever going anywhere near a microphone. It would have been a simple matter for Mike Jones to call and confront Haggard directly; that failing, he could easily have contacted Haggard's wife or Haggard's congregation. Ironically, in doing so, he would have most likely accomplished what he claims to care about -- ending Haggard's destructive behavior towards himself, his family, and his congregation -- with a minimum of harm to all parties involved.

But he didn't.

And why he did it is best explained, I think, by the estimable Mistress Mink, as published in Frontiers, whose column this week sums up the issue at hand:
Scumbags aside, Mink thinks people have the right to come out—or not—in their own time. Forcing their hand doesn’t foster any sense of community. Mink herself knows of a few unofficially gay actors whom her friends have dated, and she’s not about to put that into print. Not her business to. Because people have the right to live their lives as they wish—they even have a right to lie about their relationships. In L.A. the right to be inauthentic seems to be wildly flaunted anyhow.

Mostly Mink wonders why people are so interested in the private lives of strangers. What an enormous distraction this all is from our own lives, and the health and well-being of our community. Every time she sees a photo in the tabloids, Mink wonders what kind of nefarious stalkery was behind it. There are theories Mink entertains about this—we mere serfs use the media and paparazzi to leverage our class hatred of the rich and famous. And especially at the ones who most resemble ourselves.

Truer words are rarely spoken.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Why Gays Will Continue To Be Politically Impotent

On the one hand:
Too often in recent years, the monolithic gay voting bloc herds into the voting booth to cast a ballot for the Democrat. Once in power, most of those Democrats quickly turn their backs on one of the most reliable constituencies that put them in office in the first place.

But on the other:

Unfortunately, a gay vote for the current Republican Party, which has been hijacked by fundamentalist Christians hell-bent on stripping gay citizens of equality, is unconscionable.

Or, in other words, "We care less about your record of screwing us over than we do our stereotypical and prejudicial beliefs about the other party."

Hence, Republicans won't get gay votes regardless of what they do, and Democrats will get gay votes regardless of what they do.

Paccione May Have Done It; The Ted Haggard Case

Bold statement, I know.

But, based on my interpretation of the evidence, that's what I think happened.

First, the overall story, for those of you who missed it; Mike Jones, a male prostitute in Denver, Colorado, accused Reverend Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, of having a three-year affair with him and purchasing/using methamphetamines from him. Haggard, while admitting that he did purchase methamphetamines from Jones, insists that he did not use them and that he only contacted Jones for a massage.

Towards my postulate, here's the evidence in order.

Item 1: the male prostitute in question flunked the lie detector test which he insisted on having.

Item 2: the male prostitute in question is in significant financial trouble and, despite insisting that he has given up both selling drugs and himself, was advertising his wares in a November 1 magazine issue.

Those two items establish both that the source is, at best, questionable, and that there is significant financial and legal incentive for him to cooperate with any proffered golden keys or incentives.

Item 3: the political situation. Allegations against Haggard would primarily affect the evangelical vote, especially in Colorado. That could affect two major points -- one, the amendments to ban gay marriage and enact a domestic partner registry that are on the ballot, and the hotly-contested race between Marilyn Musgrave and Democratic challenger Angie Paccione.

As it turns out, this race is a cause celebre for the gay leftist community, mainly because of Musgrave's sponsorship and authorship of the Federal Marriage Amendment and Marriage Protection Act. Blogs such as John Aravosis's Americablog (look under the "banned" on the sidebar blogrolls) have not only taken it upon themselves to raise thousands of dollars for Paccione, but have offered their political support and assistance of the gay community to her.

Interestingly enough, Americablog has strong ties to the blog Blogactive and its proprietor, Mike Rogers, who is expert in the practice of making false accusations and bringing forth "anonymous" sources about peoples' sexual orientation, and who regularly solicits information in order to blackmail and harm conservative and religious (not Democrat) individuals. Indeed, John Aravosis has regularly praised Rogers and supported his efforts, including his recent attempts to claim (via "anonymous sources") that Senator Larry Craig is a criminal who has sex with men in public restrooms.

Given the links to both the Paccione campaign and Rogers, one need only put two and two together. While I have no direct evidence that Paccione was involved, the connections between her and these bloggers, as well as the similarity of the tactics used to those previously employed by Rogers and Aravosis, is quite a compelling argument that she may have been.

Perhaps Paccione should clarify her relationship with these bloggers, issue a public statement that she would not engage in such tactics, and, as a show of her good faith, return any donations that said sites have collected and repudiate their actions in supporting outing and vicious mischaracterizations of her opponent.

After all, it's what she would demand Musgrave do.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Requiem for Halloween

In case you haven't heard, at last night's Halloween festivities in the Castro -- San Francisco's world-famous gay neighborhood -- the worst happened.

Note I said "worst"......not "unthinkable".

Ever since 2002, when four people were stabbed and the police responding were bombarded with bottles, anyone with half a brain cell in their head could have seen this coming (and several did). While the city has laudably stepped up enforcement and taken measures to prevent violence, over six hundred law enforcement officers, searches, confiscation of even costume parts that could be used as a weapon, and denying drunks entry didn't keep ten people from getting shot.

So what's the problem?

Well, for the first, take a look at this photo of the event; particularly, count the number of people you see in costume.

Not many. And that's the issue -- more people are coming for reasons other than to show off their costumes and enjoy Halloween. It's not necessarily a bad thing when it's just a few straight and other people who come out to enjoy the costumes and share in the spirit; however, what is becoming obvious is that it's rapidly become an excuse for a lot of people to get together, get drunk, and with their inhibitions lowered, start gangbanging. Worse, it's rapidly spilling over into the Saturday night informal celebrations that most gays have started frequenting instead -- as was made abundantly clear when about eight street toughs taunted my husband and I with calls of "faggot, faggot", said they would "kick our ass", and followed us for a block, flinging epithets.

Thirty-two years in the buckles of the Bible Belt, and I had to come to San Francisco to get gaybashed.

The second issue, though, is the fruitcake ideology that so many in the City push which makes its way into our governance system -- and, while it ostensibly seeks to reduce crime, actually encourages it.

For instance, the Halloween celebration has become a major, if not the main issue, in the race for the office of city supervisor, District 8, which represents the Castro. Current Supervisor Bevan Dufty has repeatedly pushed for heightened security, tightened venues, increased police presence, and measures taken to limit the amount of time people spend out in the street; he has also recommended that the event be moved out of the Castro, which is a mixed residential and light retail district, to Union Square or the Embarcadero, both of which are primarily commercial and used for large events.

His primary competitor, Alix Rosenthal, whose platform consists primarily of accusing Dufty of being too conservative, had this to say:

Tuesday's event will mark the one-week countdown to election day, and the issue of Halloween in the Castro has become a central issue in Dufty's re-election campaign. His main challenger, Alix Rosenthal, has said Dufty is slowly draining the fun out of the neighborhood.........

She said shutting the event down at 10:30 p.m. -- the time many partyers are arriving at the event -- will only anger people and encourage them to hang out in surrounding areas and perhaps cause trouble. Having just one entertainment stage will further compound the problem, she said.

"When people get bored is when they start gay bashing or committing acts of property damage," she said, noting that a parade or some other form of entertainment would keep people happily distracted.

With all due respect, distraction is something you do to toddlers. It stretches the bounds of credibility to believe that the reason teenagers and adults are committing acts of violence at these events are because they're not being entertained every second -- especially given San Francisco's history of assaults and homicides at events, parks, and community centers. Furthermore, San Francisco is a veritable embarras de richesse of nightlife, bars, clubs, theaters, porn shops, arcades, and options for people with nothing to do; why should taxpayers be required to shell out for more in order to prevent flying bullets or arson?

But that's the "progressive" mentality; it's not the fault of the perpetrators of violence, nor should they be punished. It wasn't the fault of those kids that they were gaybashing and threatening my husband and me; they were bored. It wasn't the fault of the thief that kicked down the door and broke into my husband's nephew's apartment last night and stole his wife's heirloom necklace; it was their fault for having nice things in a not-so-nice neighborhood. Everything will be peachy-keen if we just keep pumping more money into the supervisors' re-election slush funds community grant programs and put more restrictions on the police and things like security cameras to foster "good relationships" and "protect privacy".

And they wonder why more and more San Franciscans are starting to ironically refer to the City, channeling the late Herb Caen, as "Baghdad by the Bay".

But one thing's for certain; "Baghdad's" Halloween celebration is no longer welcome in our neighborhood.